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Jesse Geleynse |
Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013, 4:10 p.m.

Here come the Portland Winterhawks

Here's some numbers:


The first number is Everett's record against the Portland Winterhawks the past three seasons. The second number is the number of goals scored by the Tips and Hawks in those 30 games. Needless to say, the series has been lopsided.

Friday night we find out if anything has changed.

Portland sets the bar in the WHL. The Winterhawks won the Western Conference each of the past three seasons, winning the league title last season. With 34 points Portland currently has the most of any team in the WHL. The Winterhawks train just continues to roll on.

And those Winterhawks roll into Comcast Arena on Friday for the first of 10 meetings between the teams this season, as well as the first meeting since Portland knocked the Tips out of the first round of the playoffs last spring. But this time there's something different. This time Everett is right in Portland's rearview mirror instead of lagging several miles behind down the highway. Portland is 16-4-1-1, Everett is 14-3-4-0. If the Tips win Friday, they'll catch the Winterhawks in the standings.

So far this season Everett has passed just about every test of whether it truly belongs with the top teams in the Western Conference. But there's no truer test than Portland. Therefore, Friday we get our first look at whether Everett has really arrived as a contender.

In other news:

- Everett goaltender Austin Lotz (ankle) was back in uniform Wednesday, though he only served as Daniel Cotton's back-up in the 6-5 overtime loss against Regina. Everett coach Kevin Constantine said Lotz was available for use Wednesday if needed, and Lotz will likely get the start against Portland.

- The NHL Central Scouting Service released its November rankings for the 2014 NHL draft, and four Everett players were among the 38 WHLers listed. Goaltender Austin Lotz was listed as a B goalie, while forwards Dawson Leedahl, Ivan Nikolishin and Tyler Sandhu were listed as C skaters. The newcomer to the list is Leedahl, who had not been ranked by CSS before.

- Team Pacific (B.C. and Alberta) was announced for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, and Everett defensemen Kevin Davis and Noah Juulsen made the squad. They'll take part in the tournament, which is Dec. 29-Jan. 4 in Nova Scotia. With defenseman Mirco Mueller a lock to play for Switzerland at the World Junior Hockey Championships, Everett will be down three regular defensemen at the start of the second half of the season.

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